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FEMA awards over $18 million to Calf Canyon/Hermit's Peak Fire recovery efforts

The combined Hermit’s Peak and Calf Canyon fires burn north of Las Vegas
Patrick Lohmann
Source New Mexico
The combined Hermit’s Peak and Calf Canyon fires burn north of Las Vegas

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is awarding over $18 million in federal funds for Calf Canyon/Hermit’s Peak Fire recovery. The agency was also tasked with allocating about $4 billion in federal funds, but has been criticized for rolling out the money too slowly.

FEMA is awarding about $17 million to the Mora-San Miguel Electric Co-Op to repair infrastructure damage.

It is also giving about $1.5 million to the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management as a reimbursement for mutual aid that was used to run shelters, get equipment and pay staff that worked with evacuated residents and their pets.

U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernández, D-N.M., said this round of funds is typical of disaster relief, while the funds allocated for fire victims last year are not.

"They are two very separate things, and we want people to remember that. Because the Hermit’s Peak Fire Assistance Act, I call that justice," she said.

The federal government approved about $4 billion in aid for fire victims, partially through the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Assistance Act passed by Congress last year.

FEMA opened claims offices in Mora, Santa Fe and Las Vegas in late April. Since the fire, which started when the U.S. Forest Service lost control of two planned burns last spring, many residents have voiced frustration with the slow rollout of support funds. The governor’s office provided and sourced funding for some fire victims, which it plans to seek reimbursement for from FEMA.

This coverage is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners.

Megan Myscofski is a reporter with KUNM's Poverty and Public Health Project.
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